Sony/Zeiss and Mamiya rumored to release medium format digital rangefinder cameras


The current Mamiya 7 II medium format camera

I got an interesting tip from a very good source: Sony/Zeiss and Mamiya will both release new digital medium format rangefinder-styled cameras in the next 12 months. Sony is already producing a medium format sensor used in the latest cameras from PhaseOne and Hasselblad. I do not have any additional information for now.

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  • xatnep


  • photoviking

    Give me a digital Mamiya 7/7ii and I am SOLD!

    • MacCruiskeen

      Hell, just give me the one in the photo!

    • Sam

      Me too! I would even accept 6x4cm sensor instead 6×7 format to make camera smaller, but I will not buy any so called “MF” with 33x44mm sensor. Than I will still use both of mine 6×4,5 ans 6×9 on film.

    • Martin

      Give me a digital Mamiya 6 instead!

  • michaelp

    Like the idea, but comparison with a Mamiya 7 is hyperbole at best. The Sony sensor in question (33x44mm) covers 35% of the view field of 60x70mm format. Film still rules 🙂

    • Bollox

      Exactly. Calling this “medium format” is like calling compact cameras “large sensor cameras”.

      • Sky

        Sensor size got nothing to deal with whatever compact is a compact. Compacts can be “large sensor cameras” just fine.

        • Bollox

          Show me one digital “large sensor compact camera” apart from the Leica M.

          • Hubertus Bigend

            Sony RX1.

          • Bollox

            Correct, and note that the RX1 is the only “large sensor compact camera”.
            All other compact cameras are “small sensor cameras” because they are even smaller than 135, which in turn was called “small”.

            This could become the same again, scaled up. I am not really interested, then. 645 or larger, on the other hand, would be awesome, and a first. And it is not going to happen.

          • Hubertus Bigend

            I see it from slightly different perspective. If “crop” cameras are what I mainly shoot with, say APS-C or Four Thirds, and if that was a conscious choice and not just budget restrictions, then the advantages of 35mm “full frame” just aren’t big enough for me to add one. 30×40/33×44/36x48mm “medium format”, on the other hand, in a portable package and with a sensor like the Sony 50 MP CMOS chip, would be just what I could well imagine to add to the rest of my gear, because that would really offer new options.

            I can quite see though that people who are already shooting with a D800/810 or an A7R would be “not interested”, as for them the difference that new camera makes will be just as limited as 35mm FF for me.

          • Tom

            Similar yet different here: 43 is too close to compact cameras, and very expensive, so I never bought it. I upgraded from APS to 135 years ago.
            The Sony sensor is about 50% larger than 24×36. Why should I buy into a new system that is only 50% larger?
            I think this cam could make sense with fixed lenses instead, as long as the price is right.

        • Whatever

          Thanks for telling us…

        • Whatever

          Thanks for telling us…

      • Hubertus Bigend

        No. Medium format is what comes between 35mm and large format. Even in the old days, type 127 (40mm) roll-film sometimes used to be called medium format, too.

    • David

      The image area of 6×7 is really 56 x 70mm. So 37% to be more accurate.

    • Hubertus Bigend

      Given that current APS-C cameras already tend to produce better IQ than 6×7 film for most purposes excluding, perhaps, B&W (I still own a 6×7 Mamiya, by the way), I think the comparison isn’t too far off. The new 50 MP Sony sensor probably exceeds virtually everything 6×7 film could ever do.

      • It’s not just about IQ, it’s the whole crop thing all over again. Crop sensors throw all sorts of spanners into the works.

        If all that mattered was dynamic range and resolution, we’d throw everything away the moment the iPhone got good enough. The problem with crop is that familiar focal lengths go wonk, not to mention familiar lenses suddenly become telephoto relative to their intended FOV.

        Would it be cool if someone respectable came out with a decent alternative to all-in-one MF cameras? Sure, but another crop camera?

        • Hubertus Bigend

          I’m quite with you there, if I look at Pentax, Hasselblad, whatever. But if we see it that way, the Leica S system would be the only “non-crop” MF system available, even though its sensor is the smallest of all, because at least the lenses are no 6×4.5/6/7 lenses used in “crop mode”. On the other hand, I’d expect that new Mamiya/Sony/Zeiss camera to introduce a new mount and new lenses specifically designed for its format, too.

        • fjfjjj

          We’d all switch to small-sensor cameras if only the focal length numbers weren’t so confusing. Riiiight. Also we would all stop eating sugar if only there was some other kind of sweetener.

        • You do realise that the manufacturers will likely put out lenses that are adjusted for the crop factor to produce familiar focal lengths, right?

          • Of course they will make equivalents. And just like today, equivalents, which must be wider angle than their targets, and in order to preserve even a modicum of the image’s non-benchmark qualities: OOF, DOF, etc., must contain more exotic glass, must be faster, and must cost significantly more. Obviously Sony can’t command the prices we expect from certain companies, but they will cost a lot, probably be large, may cut manufacturing corners (go all fly-by-wire), and will be just as big.

            Crop never has benefits in equivalent terms, only when equivalence doesn’t matter.

          • Bollox

            Very true. Be careful though, you are annoying many marketing shills with your story. If you want a laugh, look up m43 followers saying that their soon-to-come 300mm/F4 is going to be the equivalent of a Nikon 600/4 LOL.

          • It’s annoying how much I get annoyed by all of this. That said, the new-to-come 300/4 is an interesting design. I’d not mind a 600/5,6 equivalent. Still, it looks to be as big as the Nikon 300/4 AF lens. Amazed I am by how crop sensor fans can stick with it despite much much much more expense for much much much less equivalent lens.

          • Strictly speaking the purpose built equivalent lenses don’t need to be wider… they need to be shorter but yes… they will need to be more complex for full equivalence but you were talking only about fov earlier.

      • Luke

        Are you kidding me? You can drum scan well over 150mp of usable information from a single 35mm film frame, and more dynamic range than today’s DSLRs provide. Good 6×7 film would give way more. Way more.

        But for what myself and 95% of photographers shoot, digital still offers a better total package.

        • Hubertus Bigend

          150 MP from 35mm? Yeah, with 10~30 pixels for one grain so that each grain’s shape can be visualized, thank you very much. I wouldn’t call that “usable”, though.

        • 150 is a bit over the top, to be fair. You need a lens that resolves 400 lines/mm at around f/3… can you name a few?

          People scan film at super high resolutions and try to find some tiny little detail and go “aha I knew it” like Costanza but unless we’re from a forensic department, how can we actually enjoy tiny details out numbered 1 to a 1000 by ugly grain? If comparing film to digital you need to stop increasing the scan resolution when you’re starting to lose the overall quality.

          The realistic figure for 35mm is around 12-15 megapixels. Noise aside, scanned at that resolution, it looks very similar to digital.


      • “For most purposes”

        Like what? Pleasing the iphone photography crowd?

        • Hubertus Bigend

          It doesn’t need RAW with a 12 MP mobile phone camera to match the resolution of the D3/etc., of course it could, as long as the lens is good enough and neither noise nor NR eats too much of the resolution. Ever seen images from those Nokia phones with 40 MP sensors? Resolution-wise, they perfectly well outperform those Nikons.

          Of course there are other aspects of image quality beside basic resolution that we haven’t talked about, which affect both the sensor size discussion and the film vs. digital discussion, be it in favor of one or the other respective side. And then there’s the question of up to what ISO numbers the comparisons go.

          Yes, with lowest sensitivity film, with near-perfect lenses and under perfect conditions MF resolution still outperfoms APS-C resolution – that’s what I mean.

    • Joe

      Film still rules for people that don’t have money for a full frame digital camera. My 6×7 Pentax is not even close to my 36mp full frame Sony A7r in image detail. I print 36×48″ prints from cropped 36mp images from my A7r.

      • michaelp

        What? It’s not about money or pixel peeping. It’s about comparative field of view with the same focal length lens. It’s about the right tool for the job and the desired outcome. I regularly use 2 full frame digital cameras, but I still shoot film, mostly medium format. MF just has the real estate available that 24×36 can’t hold a candle to without resorting to expanded visual depth.

        • a-traveler

          Bronica and Fuji made 6 x 4.5 rangefinder cameras. The Bronica SLR 6 x 4.5 ETR series was introduced in 1976. Contax and Mamiya made 6 x 4.5 SLRs. Hasselblad made 6 x 4.5 film backs for the 500 series SLR cameras. Nothing new about Crop Frame Medium Format.

          I do agree about the quality of 6 x 7 film, but my Full Frame 4 x 5 Toyo film camera is even better. And it weighs less than a Mamiya RZ67 😉

          • Joe

            I had a 4×5 Cambo for studio use and 4×5 Wista field camera but sold them many years ago. I still have my 4×5 darkroom with Beseler MXT w/

            Schneider 150mm f/4 APO-Componon HM Enlarging Lens and Minolta 45A head along with Beseler 16CP 16×20 tabletop processor for Cibachrome/Ilfochrome but have not used it in many years.

            My two full frame digital cameras spoiled me since I don’t need to jump through as many hoops to view my images. Anyone want to buy my darkroom setup and Pentax 6×7 system ?

          • Zos Xavius


          • Use the buy and sell forum in

          • MacCruiskeen

            How much do you want for the Schneider lens? I’ve got a D5-XL, so I I don’t need the Beseler, and a Mamiya and Fuji 6×9, so I don’t need the Pentax, either. But I might upgrade the lens I’m using in the darkroom for 4×5 if the price is right. I’m gonna guess it isn’t, though.

          • Joe

            B&H lists it for $1,358.95 so I would sell it for $350. I plan on using it as a macro lens for my 36mp full frame Sony A7r using an adapter .

  • Mike

    I have a Mamiya6. Quite possibly the most enjoyable camera I have. Pics are amazing but I don’t develop myself so the process is long with so very few film labs around anymore. The only thing better than my Mamiya6 would be a digital version.

  • MonkeySpanner

    Wow – this is awesome!

  • Wally in Austin

    What rumors do you have about lenses! This much resolution will need many new lenses!

    • Sky

      Admin never mentioned anything about the resolution. But if Sony plans to use it’s existing MF sensor than current MF lenses work just fine on it.

      • Absolutely. Even LF lenses should work just fine. A few pre-digital LF lenses are even good enough for 35mm digital.

        Most MF lenses are at least that sharp.

  • IamJacksCamera

    Damn it Fuji, you’re too late.

    • Unless Fuji announces it at CES in January. The article said a Sony/Ziess and/or Mamiya could be within the next 12 months/

      • Sky

        They won’t.

        Fuji still considers APS-C to be-all end-all of digital sensors.

        • Pat Mann

          It is. Time for Nikon to wake up.

        • And so, too, do Fujifilm fans. Any smaller and ‘no’. Any larger, and ‘no’. Anyone that says elsewise (unless, that is, an elusive MF camera came out), is labelled a troll.

  • Bokeh

    A ‘Mamiya 645 Rangefinder’, I’m sure they would sell plenty…

  • Mark James Luzzi

    Its about time.

  • punku

    “I do not have any additional information for now”
    Come on, spill the beans…
    LOL.! 😀

  • Andy Pandy

    I suspect the Sony will only come with a fixed lens but I hope they prove me wrong

    • Sky

      Last thing Sony needs is yet another system.

      • Ken Elliott

        I agree. I think Sony is testing the waters. If it sells well, they will get the go-ahead from management to develop a “system” camera. This is exactly what Fujifilm did with the X100.

        • If Fuji tested the waters with the x100 it’s not for the aps-c compact… it’s for the hybrid ovf. Plenty of compacts with aps-c sensors had been around by the time the x100 came.

  • I feel strangely disoriented. What year is this?

    • Sky

      Hard to tell.

      People these days find adapters to be the greatest thing ever, optical compressors to be the best invention since god knows when, APS-C format is considered large (FF huge, and anything bigger than that is automatically enormous, mythical medium format) and we have pages and pages devoted solely to comparing sizes of a cameras.
      Feels somewhat like ’60s.

  • texas leica

    possible, but i do not belive.
    i would buy one, if it is small. i donnt need a rangefinder, evil is good fpr me.
    af would be nice, mf is ok.
    would pay about 4000 euro for a body and zeiss price for the lenses.

  • a-traveler

    With any luck the Mamiya will use the 44×36 Dalsa CCD sensor. A relatively inexpensive sensor that is used in the Mamiya/Leaf Aptus II backs. I’m not a fan of rangefinder cameras, but a 33 megapixel RF, at the right price, could be a winner.

    Check-out the RF645 Bronica 6×4.5 rangefinder film camera.

    • Pat Mann

      Looks like a Fujifilm sensor in that one. Perhaps they’re working on a 617 sensor for a panorama camera.

    • waterengineer

      Rangefinder style = easily packable field camera.

  • Chris M

    Great, we’ll finally get a compact medium format digital and it will have Sony’s lossy compressed RAW files. Ugh

    • You need to look up how the compression works Chris… unless you actually understand algorithms it’s best to move along than whine about mine and other people’s problems.

      • fjfjjj

        There’s no point in dismissing comments based on some notion about the commenter’s education or lack thereof. One needn’t “understand algorithms” (and I do) to point out Sony’s weird “raw” files. If you believe that your understanding of Sony’s algorithms can actually shed some light on the topic, shine that light already, or you’re just another whiner.

        • You forgot to say please.

          • fjfjjj

            You’re welcome.

          • Im not obliged to teach you people anything. Learn some manners.

          • fjfjjj

            It’s true that nobody has an obligation to be generous, but generosity has its own rewards. Lo, comes ignorance in all shades.

          • I’m generous to decent people and those who can do better than post a meme at best.

  • Andrew Livelsberger

    Someone – Fuji, Sony, Mamiya, whoever….just make it affordable and you’ll have a winner – even if it has the most basic of functionality. So long as the IQ is there – price the thing around $3000-$4000 and you’ll have a lot of buyers.

    I don’t care if they make it a fixed lens rangefinder. Just give us something I don’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford.

    • For 3000-4000$, it will be a poorly put together, poorly thought-out hodge-podge of a machine unless the maker decides to take a bath. I’d rather they make it right and price it accordingly.

      We’ve got enough shit products to deal with in the photography world.

  • Camaman

    Be prepared for it to be a fixed lens 35mm eq. and f4 if you want compact an AF.
    They would sell more if they made it like cube and target product photography in a studio.

  • Anand

    All this thing has to do is to take the existing Mamiya 7 lenses. They will sell a TON if they can figure that out.

    • That is guaranteed. I’m sure they will market a new mount, but it will be a shallow flange mount able to take any lens.

  • Dave

    I use a Mamiya 7 as my daily carry camera. I love almost everything about it. The lenses are a little slow and they don’t focus too close, but everything else is wonderful. A medium format mirrorless is something photographers would really get behind.

    Both Fuji and Sony/Mamiya should invest in this kind of product because it’s something unique and actually could tempt me from using medium and large format film and into the digital world.

    Right now there isn’t a digital camera available from the major manufactures that gives my the IQ of a 6×7 or 4×5 film camera when all things are combined. I mean colours, tones, DR, and resolution. Not just ISO performance and pixel number alone.

    • Doc

      I’d like to see what you describe. But I doubt they would invest as much R&D into MF as SonyCanon does with FF. Therefore the MF might not provide the advantage or relevant difference in comparison to FF. I’d like to see such a camera from Mamiya, Nikon, Phase or Canon since these are the brands that know how things must be. If they put it right it will be an expensive camera for pros and enthusiasts – do not know if there is a market. I doubt Sony has good will amongst customers: Sony just lacks consistency and credibility, their products are kind of experimental, sorry.

  • MonkeySpanner

    I see a lot of people on here asking about lenses. We are not sure this will be an interchangeable lens camera. Especially for Sony – who probably doesn’t want to start yet another mount. This could be a fixed lens camera for Sony.

  • Would have preferred the modular design like the older Mamiya Universal which could be accessorized and configured much more radically than this new camera. For the size of the sensor I wonder if it could have been made a little more compact without losing too much of the man-sized feel of its ancestors.

    The Universal had swappable film backs. Think about it. Isn’t there a digital back for the 500 Hassys? Food for thought, however musty.

  • Hubertus Bigend

    Sonyalpharumors says it’s going to be a fixed lens (35mm equiv. “Zeiss”) RX-style camera.

    And if I look at the RX1 price tag, then I’m, well.. not really interested.

  • AMJ

    I don’t wanna spend 5k-6k on a fixed lens camera…

    • Hubertus Bigend

      Yeah, that’s the point…

    • What do you shoot with now?

      • AMJ

        Canon 450d and contax 645.

  • Let’s wait and see.

  • Zos Xavius

    Its the most logical answer right now IMO.

  • fjfjjj

    About time. I will buy.

    • You don’t need a biogon on 4×5 to match resolution with a 645 at all. It’s 645 that needs a biogon if it were to compete with bigger kids.

      If made in to a fixed prime compact then you can’t go wrong these days and it will be better but I can’t see why it would be that much more exciting than a FF alternative.

      • fjfjjj

        I think we’re saying the same thing.

  • It’d be an interesting alternative to cameras like the rx1 series and the a7 series but not an alternative to medium format… not with a sensor so small.

  • Doc

    Phase One recently said to bring another system within 6 months. A system that uses modern digital tech because current MF still is rooted in analog times. This could be interpreted as a mirrorless MF system. Wonder what kind of finder we will get?

    • I must have missed that, do you have a link? Thanks.

      • Doc

        Together with the release
        of the IQ250 CMOS sensor in January of this year one of the big MF brands made
        above statement during an interview to hint at new opportunities with this new
        tech. If I remember correctly, the statement came from Mr. Hakonsson from Phase
        One. Again, it was said that MF still relies on analog tech and that MF needs
        to step up. There was not much attention to this statement and I do not find it
        on the WWW. Mentioned was a release date around late summer 2014, nothing there

        Meanwhile, during
        Photokina, Kevin Raber from Luminous Landscape challenged Mr. Hakonsson from
        Phase One about the long awaited ‘new camera’ and again the answer was, that
        within 6 months we will see a new camera. A new camera can be everything but
        would not make much sense to bring the old in a new package. Therefore my
        conclusion, that we could see a mirrorless camera from Phase One ‚soon’.

        Phase One going strong /
        Photokina 14

        Then we have the Phase One
        – ALPA alliance with the following statement:

        „Shortly, Phase One and ALPA plan to launch
        a new A-series camera system that builds on the products and technologies from
        both industry leaders. The A-series represents a pioneering development in the
        market for compact solutions offering full frame medium format image quality,
        and is expected to be a category-defining product.“

  • johnny

    Lens quality is the most important, not sensor size. Making the projected plane larger will decrease the lens resolution.

  • DouglasGottlieb

    I love the idea of an RX1 style MF camera with “rangefinder” style and EVF. I wonder if the curved sensor technology will help Sony keep the size of this camera way down and the corners of the frame bright and sharp. Pricing it in the RX1 range could make it the first “mainstream hit” for MF, but that seems like a long shot. Still, this kind of camera seems like the kind of thing only Sony could do right now. I hope it happens soon.

  • saywhatuwill

    Nice! Heat up that market! Competition is king for consumers.

  • MB

    Digital Mamiya 7? Wow … whats not to like 🙂

  • Bob

    As reported months ago of course!. Comparison with Mamiya7 is perfectly apt, or Bronica RF645 for that matter. The point is not the exact size of the sensor but that it is rumoured to come in a system camera with its own set of lenses.

  • Matt

    You people claiming that your digital cameras are superior to 6×7 have either never shot 6×7 or are deluding yourselves. Dont believe the hype, theres a reason people continue to pay through the nose to shoot 35mm, develop, scan even though its incredibly time consuming.

    • ouvreboite

      There is people that spend hundreds or thousands an gold plated “special” hdmi cables, too. I’m not discussing your point about film vs digital. But, just don’t rely on the “people does it” argument.

  • jon

    The Mamiya 7 lenses are unbelievably good. I hope the new mamiya digital can accept them. If it can i would expect the used prices to skyrocket. Also, event though the sensor will most likely have a crop factor from 6X7, the silver lining is that the lenses should be even better with the corners cropped.

    The price will have to be attractive and competitive with high end DLRS to really be disruptive. I would say no more than $3500 body only.

    I am not interested in a fixed lens medium format digital.

    Just my opinion.

  • johnny

    RF sucks. Too much trouble. Why not just use live view to take picture?

    • alberto

      discount from@amazon

      • alberto
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